Osteoarthritis: Stress on post-surgery rehabilitation: Physiotherapy plays a key role in restoring the full range of movement of the knee after a knee joint surgery.
Knee joint or total knee replacement surgeries done on patients with osteoarthritis are quality of life enhancement procedures. These are done to relieve this 55-plus age group of pain and improve mobility. But, is surgery alone enough to bring the spring back in their feet? Not quite.
Post-surgery rehabilitation, primarily Physiotherapy, plays a key role in restoring the full range of movement of the knee or hip joint. If the restoration is poor, blame it on the lack of physiotherapy. The bulk of such cases relate to the total knee replacement surgeries.
Orthopaedic Surgeon says Physiotherapy is largely ignored and this restricts movement and denies the full benefit of the surgery.
Invariably, persons opt for surgery after suffering osteoarthritis for nearly four years. The cartilage that serves as a cushion between the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone) at the knee wears out, leading to these bones coming into direct contact with each other. This leads to inflammation of muscles around the joint. The resultant pain prevents patients from walking. In turn, this leaves the muscles weak.
“Surgery provides only a prosthetic (artificial) knee joint. It does not help the muscles regain vigour. That can come only through physiotherapy,”. If patients do not follow the full protocol of physiotherapy, the muscles will remain weak. This will leave the artificial joint bearing the full body weight of the patients when they walk, and it will wear out soon.
“Only 75 per cent of the knee joint surgery patients come for regular follow-up that is done at the following frequency: two weeks, six weeks, three months, six months and one year. Of these cases, only a paltry 25 per cent go through the full protocol of physiotherapy,” the surgeon says. Generally, the problem lies with the belief among the patients that household work is a substitute to physiotherapy. They argue that it is strenuous enough to pass for exercise. But, the fact is that the knee joint is not specifically exercised to the required level.